Kahn Awarded Facilities Contract

M.B. Kahn, who has historically written the Richland 2 School District’s Long Range Facilities Plan, was awarded a $62,000 contract during the School Board’s Oct. 22 meeting at Pontiac Elementary for this year’s update.

As outlined in the plan, “The primary goal is to review and update the enrollment projections in order to ensure that the facilities will have adequate seating capacities which will accommodate future enrollments and meet program needs. The secondary goal is to aid the District in identifying major repairs and renovations which will improve the existing facilities.”

Minor tweaking usually occurs annually with major revisions every several years. The last major update was in 2011. Writing the Long Range Facilities Plan does not remove M.B. Kahn from the opportunity to bid on construction projects in the district.

Fred McDaniels, Chief Planning Officer, presented the factors the District is considering in determining attendance between new Elementary #19 and Lake Carolina Elementary. Up for consideration are two options: One option would have each school, within ¼ mile of each other on Kelly Mill Road, operate as independent kindergartens through fifth grade. The other option would have kindergarten through second grade attend Lake Carolina, and third through fifth grade attend School #19.

Factors that weigh into the process are: staggered start times; effect on school choice; placement of playgrounds, furniture, library and media and where to house the new second site for the Spears Creek Childhood Development Center.

The past two Board meeting have had residents from the Lake Carolina neighborhood express their concerns at the lack of information available to them. While there were several parents in attendance at this Board meeting, there was no public participation. The Board has said they will vote on the attendance options at the next meeting.

After a couple of parents expressed concerns that their high school students did not have ample time to eat lunch in the cafeteria, Fred Carter, District Operation Director, presented an analysis of the meals served by the District. The five high school principals reported that students empty the lunch lines within 15 minutes and they see no students going unfed.

About a third of Blythewood High’s students eat at one of the six designated lunch areas. Principal Keith Price says that many students pick up their lunch and hang with their favorite teacher citing the school’s culture of building relationships between staff and students. Westwood High sees 46 percent of their students eating at school. Principal Ralph Schmidt uses the lunch period, the longest in the District at 42 minutes, for students to also receive tutoring, play intramurals and meet with clubs. All high schools allow seniors to leave campus for lunch. The principals say that having lunch activities is an attraction in keeping students interested in remaining on campus midday.

The next Board meeting will be Nov. 11 at Polo Road Elementary.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]